First drive

Okay, so it’s technically not the first drive.  I DID drive it those two blocks before the throttle cable broke.  And then I did drive it from my house to the exhaust shop, and then again back to the house.  Both times was more limping than driving though… Exhaust, O2 sensors, fans, coolant temp, oil press, fuel level–all of it was working.  I ran it up to about 45mph, through 4th gear (1:1; 6th gear is 0.5:1!) and I was at about 1400 RPM.  There was almost NO torque at that low of an RPM–idle is 900–but it ran smoothly.  There’s still a little bit of a backfire every 30 seconds to a minute…just a quiet ping from the exhaust.

Reverse still requires me to hold the shifter up in reverse—I’m worried that’s the synchro that’s dead.  I’ve heard it MIGHT be a lack of hydraulic bleeding in the clutch system–I can always hope I guess. It burbles and pops on overrun, which is a lot of fun. It’s also quite loud…probably louder than I had planned, but that might be because there’s a giant hole in the floor where the shifter comes up that needs to be covered by carpeting and dynamat.  That’ll come with time.

I’ll make a couple more test drives, including up to 55 or so on Hwy 99, and up to 80 or so on the interstate, just to see how everything behaves.  I’ll also run the engine up to a higher RPM; I only managed about 3500 on that first run.  Once I’m confident of the systems, I’ll go ahead and take it into a dyno shop and see if they can dial out the rich backfiring and clean up the idle behavior.  First gear off idle is much easier now that I have closed loop capability with the O2 sensors installed, but it’s still a bit weaker than I expected.  Don’t get me wrong, if I actually apply a little throttle, even as little as 1200 or 1500 RPM, first feels GREAT.  But it should idle forward if I ride the friction zone without too much hesitation and studdering.

After the dyno shop, it’s off to the emissions house.  Then to the DMV for some tabs.  Then I can start really putting it through it’s paces (since I won’t have to park it in the garage, which takes about a 12 point turn to get it out from between the townhouses, pissing off all the locals when I do it).  Maybe I’ll put it on the street tomorrow after work so I can take some of the guys that watch F1 with me on Tuesday for a spin.  We’ll see.

One other issue that seems to have just cropped up:  I think the starter is going out.  Sometimes when I turn the key, all I get is a single click.  It’s a new battery, so I know that’s not the problem.  If I try it three or four times, it just works.  I think the solenoid is going.  Any thoughts?


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